Pali Hill

Indian·
££££
·
Bronze Award
·
Fitzrovia, , W1W 7SJ ·Website ·Call020 8130 0101

SquareMeal Review of Pali Hill

Bronze Award

It could have been a rather tricky task setting up a brand-new restaurant in a building which, for 51 years, housed one of London’s most recognizable Indian restaurants, Gaylord. Braver still, was the choice to stick with the same cuisine. Thankfully, Mortimer Street’s Pali Hill doesn’t disappoint and will provide a very pleasant surprise to any ex-Gaylord regulars wanting to check out the new kid on the block.

Named after the Mumbai suburb, Pali Hill is the first UK restaurant from New Delhi-based Azure Hospitality, and aims to celebrate the area’s diverse culinary heritage. It’s clear as soon as you enter Pali Hill, that at its heart, this is a place all about sharing food, having a good time and not worrying about getting your fingers covered in spice.

The décor hasn’t been overcomplicated; bright flashes of yellow contrast with an otherwise muted colour scheme, while eye-catching colourful prints line the walls. The open kitchen is the focal point of the buzzy dining room, as a constant stream of dishes leave the pass, wafting aromas of butter and spice to all corners.

Head Chef Avinash Shashidhar’s menu is built around sharing, meaning that you can feasibly try a fair chunk of the menu, without breaking the bank. Small plates arrive first and include a fantastic papadi chat – a melange of textures which has us constantly digging in to try and find more of the crispy disks of fried dough to lather in spiced yoghurt and chutney. The Pondicherry spicy fried squid didn’t pack quite as much of a punch as we expected but did come with the delightful bonus of spiced crispy kale.

Larger dishes included a rich John Dory curry lifted by the addition of mussels, and a highly photogenic cone dosa. Our dish of the evening however, had to be the fantastically peppery Chettinad style veal shin which fell off the bone and was asking to be ridded of every last ounce of slow-cooked bone marrow. A flaky flatbread proved to be the perfect implement to absorb any remaining patches of the complex sauce. The short dessert list brings us an almost cakey carrot halwa accompanied by a boule of smooth pistachio ice cream.

The wine list does well to navigate the difficulty of pairing with spice, while still providing options, and our off-dry Riesling drinks nicely with our food. It’s well worth trying a cocktail from the list too, with our favourite being the refreshingly sweet ‘Mick Jaggery’.

Pali Hill is a fantastic demonstration of the amount of variety that Indian food can offer, and is well worth a visit if you’re looking for somewhere a level or two up from a standard curry house. Just make sure to leave plenty of room, as once you read it, you’ll want to try as much of the menu as you possibly can.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Indian
Ambience
Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates
Food Hygiene Rating

About Pali Hill

Taking over the site that, for over half a century, was Gaylord Indian restaurant, Mortimer Street's Pali Hill is the first British site from Indian restaurateurs Rahul Khanna and Kabir Suri. Offering sharing-style plates inspired by the food of Mumbai in a contemporary setting, Pali Hill's seasonal menu covers a lot of ground. It also benefits from a separate underground cocktail bar, Bhandra Bhai, which aims to recreate the vibe of an Indian smuggling den.

The 60-cover space combines traditional elements of Indian design with a some more contemporary elements. The relatively spacious upstairs dining room has a small bar, as well as an open kitchen at the far end, while Bhandra Bhai downstairs is a cosier affair aith soft furnishings a plenty.

The food menu is split into small plates, dishes cooked on the tandoor or grill, and big plates, all of which are designed to be shared by the whole table. Small plates range from a chickpea sundal served with fennel, to roasted aubergine topped with yoghurt, mint, toasted cumin, and pinenuts. Meanwhile dishes from the grill include lamb cutlets with crispy curry leaves and a mint raita and venison tikka "junglee maas".

Larger dishes vary from Suffolk lamb biryani to seabass steamed in banana leaf, while a short selection of refreshing desserts includes pomegranate ice gola, and carrot halwa. All the sections of Pali Hill's menu also contain vegan and gluten free options, meaning that there's something for everyone.

When it comes to drinks, there are number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic house cocktails on offer as well as beers on tap, boozy lassis, and more. There is also a decent wine list which features a variety of different options both by the glass and bottle.

Pali Hill's conventient location makes it a great option next time you're looking for a decent, but not overly priced meal in Central London.


FAQs

Are there gluten-free options on the menu at Pali Hill?

Yes there are gluten-free options on the menu at Pali Hill.

Helpful? 0

Location for Pali Hill

79-81 Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 7SJ

020 8130 0101

Website

Opening Times

All day
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-22:00
Wed 12:00-22:00
Thu 12:00-22:00
Fri 12:00-22:00
Sat 12:00-22:00
Sun 12:00-22:00

Reviews of Pali Hill

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1 Review 

Alex G

Yes, more
28 May 2021  

Does London need yet another Indian restaurant? Well, if it’s as good as Pali Hill, then yes. Indian cuisine in the central part of town is a highly crowded and competitive market and so restaurants really need to be doing something either very good, very different, or ideally both in order to make a mark. When two comrades and I dined recently at Pali Hill on a midweek evening, we came away impressed.

Named after a district of Mumbai, the angle behind Pali Hill is about small sharing dishes from across the whole country served in an informal, but nonetheless sophisticated setting. The dining space is large and spread over two floors but is conceived intelligently. The open kitchen provides a natural focal point and the décor gives a distinct nod to India’s cultural heritage, with the colour scheme and wall decorations (think advertising boards and black & white photos) not a million miles away from that which can be found in the perennially successful Dishoom branches.

I like menus which are mercifully brief and not over-complicated, and Pali Hill delivered in this respect. Its list comprises five small plates, seven items from the tandoor/grill and eight larger plates along with a selection of sides. While chicken tikka and lamb biryani feature on the menu, it would be fair to say that these were exceptions rather than the rule; most of the dishes were novel to all our group and things that would not appear in your typical curry house. We ate widely from across the Pali Hill spread – sharing is encouraged – and it is hard to think of a single disappointment. To call out just one example of the restaurant’s ethos and technique, consider the Pondicherry fried squid served with crispy zucchini flowers (pictured), which comprised one of the opening dishes we enjoyed. Rarely have I eaten squid that was quite as succulent and non-greasy as that which Pali Hill served up. The addition of courgette was an absolute novelty, and an inspired one at that. A pairing to revisit. Other highlights included the Chettinad-style veal shin main and the coconut broad bean side. I cannot recall seeing broad beans feature on another Indian menu elsewhere. Plaudits too to our server. Not only were we not rushed at any stage of our experience (drinks outside and then dinner in), but he also gave some helpfully appropriate recommendations to one of my dining comrades who requested dishes only without chilli. At £60/head all-in (admittedly we drank beer rather than wine), Pali Hill is definitely a place where many a future evening will be spent.

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